To assess the persistence of respiratory symptoms in ex-miners after cessation of mining exposure.
Population-based cross-sectional study using a postal questionnaire comparing prevalence of symptoms between ex-miners who had stopped mining at least 1 year before the study and referents not occupationally exposed to irritants or dust. Age, smoking and a family history of asthma were considered as possible confounders in the analysis.
A total of 206 ex-miners and 4,560 referents participated. Ex-miners had on average been working as miners for 13 years and had stopped mining 16 years before the study. Chronic productive cough and physician-diagnosed chronic bronchitis were significantly more common among ex-miners (P